Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Well… That was Unexpected

On Monday morning, the daily office led me to Romans 8:18-24…  On Tuesday, Romans 8:26-27.  I have to admit there was a certain sense of anticipation building, as I questioned what I hope for… and what ought to be… knowing full well that the next words are some of the most oft quoted to inspire expectation. 

Wait for it…

Romans 8:28… 

Actually not part of the daily office, today. 


Instead of God working in all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV), instead of some special recognition for the uniquely chosen and called, we are left with this weird narrative that doesn’t initially seem to fit (well, if you were looking for exclusivity):

Numbers 11:24-30, “So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’ But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!’ Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp” (NIV).

Oh, Eldad and Medad.  I think I kinda ‘get it.’  I wish your story didn’t resonate, but it does.  I’m not even listed among ‘the elders’…  not yet… but I know what it is to speak truth from where I am, to have the Spirit rest on me, even when I’m not part of any particular chosen group.  I know what it is to have others implore leaders to make me shut up.  But…  you know… some of us have to speak in the community.  We can’t all stand around the tent.

Interestingly, though, I have also been the “young man…”  and Joshua…  Well, use some creative license here…  I wish their stories didn’t resonate, either, but there are, unfortunately, power structures that incite panic when it seems that someone unexpected may take the lead… get the job… win the prize…  As if there’s not enough work for all of us!  Goodness, have you even seen the Church?  Have you paid any attention to the world around us?  We don’t have time to worry about who has the nicest office… or the biggest paycheck… or the most highly renowned name.  Jealousy is both inefficient and careless. 

Thankfully, Moses has some words of wisdom to impart.  I’ve read them several times, and I think they may be spoken with a hint of exasperation. 

Moses says, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!

I probably would have said, “Are you kidding me?  I can’t do this all by myself!  We can’t afford to pick and choose who God may use.” 

And so we’ve come full circle, at least in a certain sense… to that Scripture that wasn’t part of the daily office, after all… to that place where we must recognize that God works for the good of [all] those who love him…  and it would be best if the Spirit would rest on us all and if we would then speak truth and impart mercy… and justice… and all those other qualities that come from being a part of the people of God.

The people…

It’s plural…

More than one…

More than seventy…

More than we think…

There’s this quote I love, and, admittedly, I have overused it lately.  I do that sometimes:

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone.  I hope we all make it.”
-Erica Cook

How about especially in the Church?  Especially in ministry?  May these ordinary days be exactly that—not a race to the top but an expression of the common, everyday kind of love that should permeate each of our lives, regardless of status or consequence.  Now, that’s good…


No comments:

Post a Comment